Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905

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Banker, financier, and fiscal agent for the U.S. Treasury Dept. during the Civil War.

From the description of Jay Cooke correspondence, 1884. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70983928

During the Civil War, Jay Cooke & Co. of Philadelphia developed the idea of selling government bonds, which capitalized on feelings of patriotism at the time and which were a major source of financing the war. Jay Cooke later was heavily involved in finanacing (unsuccessfully) the Northern Pacific Railroad, which led to the Panic of 1873, but he later recovered much of his financial loss through investment in Utah mining interests.

From the description of Jay Cooke Letters, 1875, [1884 or 1886?] (University of California, Santa Barbara). WorldCat record id: 72441275

Jay Cooke (1821-1905) was an American banker with a business based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the last half of the nineteenth century. His financial firm, Jay Cooke & Co., dissolved in the 1870s after filing for bankruptcy.

From the description of Jay Cooke papers, 1864-1905 (bulk 1870-1882). (University of Delaware Library). WorldCat record id: 663905469

Jay Cooke (1821–1905) was an American banker with a business based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during the last half of the nineteenth century. His financial firm, Jay Cooke & Co., dissolved in the 1870s after filing for bankruptcy.

Jay Cooke grew up on the Ohio frontier and came to Philadelphia in the late 1830s to work as a clerk for E.W. Clark & Co. During the Panic of 1857, E.W. Clark & Co. failed, forcing Cooke to seek other employment. In 1860 Cooke formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, William G. Moorhead, and established Jay Cooke & Co. in Philadelphia. The firm dealt primarily in bank notes, bills of exchange, and stock, in addition to discounting paper and receiving deposits. The Civil War, however, turned the direction of the company. The firm became involved in federal finances and securities, and its reputation grew in the banking business.

The firm’s success was aided by Jay Cooke’s older brother, Henry D. Cooke, who had political connections to President Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury, Salmon P. Chase. That alliance enabled Jay Cooke & Co. to profit from wartime financing and bond sales. Jay Cooke & Co. originated the concept of selling government loans, not just to banks, but to the general public. Cooke used newspaper advertisements and circulars to sell the loans and capitalized on wartime patriotism. His famous campaign for selling “five-twenties” (bonds paying 6 percent interest and redeemable in not less than five or more than twenty years) accounted for more than 22 percent of the over two billion dollars borrowed to pay for the war.

Because the government-financing venture was successful, Jay Cooke & Co. opened another banking house in Washington, D.C., in February 1862. It was organized separately from the Philadelphia firm and, in addition to Jay Cooke and William Moorhead, the firm added Jay’s brother Henry, and Harris C. Fahnestock, an extremely adept financier, as partners. The Washington house facilitated business with the government. Henry Cooke proved himself an able lobbyist and public relations person for Jay Cooke & Co., and the firm continued its close association with the government throughout the war. By 1865 and the end of the war, business with the government slowed, and Cooke found himself and his employees in need of new work. He decided to develop a large general banking business, which in 1866 led to the establishment of another branch of the business in New York and later in 1870, with increased foreign investment and travel, a house in London. The London house was headed by Hugh McCulloch, former Secretary of the Treasury to both Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

During 1870, Jay Cooke & Co. became heavily involved in financing the Northern Pacific Railroad. Jay Cooke also committed personal finances. Difficult economic times, overextension of the firm, and the company’s complex ties to the Northern Pacific Railroad brought the downfall of Jay Cooke & Co. in the autumn of 1873. Cooke’s business failure played a significant role in the Panic of 1873. Cooke made many efforts to shore up his banking houses and try to settle with his investors without going bankrupt, but bankruptcy was declared November 26, 1870. The courts appointed Edwin M. Lewis trustee for Jay Cooke & Co., and he worked with Cooke to settle with all the creditors. The final settlement of the bankruptcy was not completed until 1890.

Many of Cooke’s partners retired from banking following the firm’s failure. Jay Cooke’s son-in-law, Charles D. Barney, and Jay Cooke, Jr. formed Chas. D. Barney & Co. in December 1873. Their new business concentrated on trading securities. Later in life, Jay Cooke was able to recover much of the estate that he had lost to creditors during the bankruptcy, and a substantial income. He managed this recovery through his connection with mineral mines in Utah and other successful investments.

Larson, Henrietta M. Jay Cooke: Private Banker. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1936. Morgan et. al. The National Experience. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1989.

From the guide to the Jay Cooke papers, 1864–1905, 1870–1882, (University of Delaware Library - Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Chase, Salmon P. (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873. Salmon P. Chase papers, 1755-1898 (bulk 1824-1872). Library of Congress
referencedIn Fahnestock, Harris Charles, 1835-1914. Papers, 1855-1914 (inclusive). Harvard Business School, Knowledge and Library Services/Baker Library
referencedIn Jay Cooke & Co. Records, 1832-1915 (inclusive), 1870-1905 (bulk). Harvard Business School, Knowledge and Library Services/Baker Library
referencedIn John Vaughan papers, 1768 - Circa 1936, 1768 - Circa 1936 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Ladd, William Sargent, 1826-1893. Papers, 1893-1908. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
referencedIn Pierson, William S. Papers 67-24; 71-85., 1795-1906 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Newton, Richard Heber, 1840-1914. R. Heber Newton collection, 1848-1914. New-York Historical Society Library
referencedIn Brown, John, 1821-1895. John Brown, Jr., papers, 1857-1895, 1931. University of Oslo Medical Library
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Gibraltar Island autograph albums microform 1865-1925. Bowling Green State University, BGSU Libraries
referencedIn Schuyler Colfax Correspondence and Speeches, 1837-1882 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Andrews, C. C. (Christopher Columbus), 1829-1922. C.C. Andrews and family papers, 1843-1930. Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Fairchild, Lucius, 1855-1892. Lucius Fairchild and family papers, 1855-1892. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Hay, John, 1838-1905. Correspondence, 1854-1914, "Chamberlain" to "Cooke". Brown University, John Hay Library
referencedIn Bradley, Joseph P., 1813-1892. Papers, 1836-1937. New Jersey Historical Society Library
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Jay Cooke papers, 1864-1905 (bulk 1870-1882). University of Delaware Library, Hugh M Morris Library
referencedIn Fessenden, William Pitt, 1806-1869. William Pitt Fessenden correspondence, 1839-1888 (bulk 1858-1869). New-York Historical Society Library
creatorOf Delano, Columbus, 1809-1896. Letterbooks, 1871-1874. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Jay Cooke & Co. records, (inclusive), (bulk)., 1832-1915, 1870-1905 Baker Library, Harvard Business School
referencedIn Fairchild, Lucius, 1831-1896. Lucius Fairchild papers, 1819-1943. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Barney, Charles E., fl, 1865-1875,. Papers of the Barney, Cooke, McClew and Neilson families, 1820-1905. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Spinner, Francis Elias, 1802-1890. Herman K. Crofoot collection of Francis Elias Spinner papers, 1792-1908 (bulk 1825-1891). Library of Congress
referencedIn Estate of Jay Cooke Ledger, 1905-1923. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Autograph File, C, 1554-2002. Houghton Library
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1876-1891. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Tex, Nicolaas Jacob den, 1836-1899. Personal diary of Nicolaas Jacob den Tex : voyage to the United States, 1871 July 6-Oct. 26 / Nicolaas Jacob den Tex ; translated by Nicolaas J. den Tex ; typed and edited by Anita C. den Tex. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Jay Cooke Letters, 1875, [1884 or 1886 ?] University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
referencedIn Herman K. Crofoot Collection of Francis Elias Spinner Papers, 1792-1908, (bulk 1825-1891) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Norton, Laurence Harper, 1888-1960. Papers, ca. 1760-1960. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
referencedIn Clarke, Ethan Case, 1820-1889. Ethan C. Clarke and family papers, 1856-1903. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States Commandery of the State of Massachusetts Civil War collection, 1724-1933 (inclusive);, 1861-1912 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Gibraltar Island records, 1865-1925 [microform]. Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Center, Hayes Presidential Center
referencedIn Fisk, James Liberty, 1835-1902. James Liberty Fisk and family papers, 1856-1968. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs [microform]., 1824-1880 Minnesota Historical Society.
referencedIn Salmon P. Chase Papers Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Salmon P. Chase Papers, 1775-1898, (bulk 1824-1872) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Pierson, William S., 1815-1879. Pierson, William S. Papers, 1795-1906 University of Texas Libraries, University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Chandler, William E. (William Eaton), 1835-1917. William E. Chandler papers, 1863-1917. Library of Congress
creatorOf Jay Cooke papers, 1864–1905, 1870–1882 University of Delaware Library - Special Collections
creatorOf Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893. Rutherford B. Hayes papers, 1820-1895 [microform]. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885. Schuyler Colfax correspondence and speeches, 1837-1882. Library of Congress
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Papers 1845-1897. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Sutherland, James Frederick, 1892 or 3-1954,. Documents relating to Indian claim cases, 1767-1951. Minnesota Historical Society Library
creatorOf Delano, Columbus, 1809-1896. Papers. Library of Congress
referencedIn William E. Chandler Papers, 1863-1917 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Sanborn family. Sanborn family papers, 1842-1927. Maine Historical Society Library
referencedIn De Coursey, Marcelin Lafourcade, 1842-. Glenwood : Colorado Springs, Colorado : ALS, 1884. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Jay Cooke correspondence, 1884. Library of Congress
creatorOf Fish, Hamilton, 1808-1893. Hamilton Fish letters, 1873. Minnesota Historical Society, Division of Archives and Manuscripts
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Jay Cooke letter to E.N. Cooke, 1870 Feb. 28. Oregon Historical Society Research Library
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Papers, 1842-1901. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
referencedIn Cooke, Eleutheros, 1787-1864. Papers, 1809-1905. University of Oslo Medical Library
referencedIn John C. Ainsworth papers, 1858-1911 Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
referencedIn Ainsworth, J. C. (John Commingers), 1822-1893. John C. Ainsworth papers, 1858-1911. University of Oregon Libraries, UO Libraries
referencedIn Harris Charles Fahnestock papers, (inclusive)., 1855-1914 Baker Library, Harvard Business School
referencedIn Wharton, Thomas I. (Thomas Isaac), 1791-1856. Papers, 1664-1891 (inclusive), 1664, 1812-1891 (bulk). Historical Society of Pennsylvania
creatorOf Cooke, Jay, 1821-1905. Jay Cooke Letters, 1875, [1884 or 1886?] University of California, Santa Barbara, UCSB Library
creatorOf United States. Office of Indian Affairs. Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880 [microform]. Minnesota Historical Society Library
referencedIn Brown, John, 1821-1895. John Brown, Jr., papers, 1857-1895. Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Center, Hayes Presidential Center
referencedIn John Russell Young Papers, circa 1840-1959, (bulk 1858-1898) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Cooke, Henry David, 1825-1881. Papers of Henry David Cooke, 1838-1956 (bulk 1846-1881). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Young, John Russell, 1840-1899. John Russell Young papers, circa 1840-1959 (bulk 1858-1898). Library of Congress
creatorOf Cooke, Eleutheros, 1787-1864. Papers 1836-1856 Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson, 1868-1936,. Papers, 1735-1931. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Ainsworth, J. C. (John Commingers), 1822-1893. person
associatedWith Andrews, C. C. (Christopher Columbus), 1829-1922. person
associatedWith Banks, W. P. person
associatedWith Barney, Charles D. person
associatedWith Barney, W. J. person
correspondedWith Bradley, Joseph P., 1813-1892. person
associatedWith Breder, Charles B. person
correspondedWith Brown, John, 1821-1895. person
associatedWith Butler, John M. person
correspondedWith Chandler, William E. (William Eaton), 1835-1917. person
correspondedWith Chase, Salmon P. (Salmon Portland), 1808-1873. person
associatedWith Clarke, Ethan Case, 1820-1889. person
associatedWith Coane, Charles, Mrs. person
correspondedWith Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885. person
correspondedWith Cooke, Eleutheros, 1787-1864. person
correspondedWith Cooke, E. N. person
associatedWith Cooke, Henry D., 1825-1881. person
correspondedWith Cooke, Henry David, 1825-1881. person
correspondedWith Crofoot, Herman K. Herman K. Crofoot collection of Francis Elias Spinner papers. 1792-1908 person
associatedWith Dechert, Robert Porter, 1842-1894. person
associatedWith De Coursey, Marcelin Lafourcade, 1842- person
associatedWith Delano, Columbus, 1809-1896. person
associatedWith Fahnestock, Harris Charles, 1835-1914. person
associatedWith Fahnestock, H. C. person
associatedWith Fairchild, Lucius, 1831-1896. person
associatedWith Fairchild, Lucius, 1855-1892. person
associatedWith Farragut, David Glasgow, 1801-1870. person
associatedWith Fessenden, William Pitt, 1806-1869. person
associatedWith Fish, Hamilton, 1808-1893. person
associatedWith Fisk, James Liberty, 1835-1902. person
associatedWith Foster, Charles. person
associatedWith Harper, Rice. person
associatedWith Hayes, Rutherford Birchard, 1822-1893. person
associatedWith Hay, John, 1838-1905. person
associatedWith Jay Cooke & Co. corporateBody
associatedWith Jay Cooke Collection. corporateBody
correspondedWith Ladd, William Sargent, 1826-1893. person
associatedWith Lewis, Edwin M. person
associatedWith McCook, John J. person
associatedWith McMeens, Anna C. person
associatedWith Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Commandery of the State of Massachusetts, collector. corporateBody
associatedWith Mitchell, John G. person
associatedWith Moorehead, William. person
associatedWith Neiglig. person
associatedWith Newton, Richard Heber, 1840-1914. person
associatedWith Northern Pacific Railroad Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Norton, Laurence Harper, 1888-1960. person
associatedWith Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson, 1868-1936, person
associatedWith Ohio Infantry. 3rd Regt., 1861-1865. corporateBody
associatedWith Pierson, William S. person
associatedWith Pittenger, Daniel. person
associatedWith Pittinger family. family
associatedWith Sanborn family. family
correspondedWith Spinner, Francis Elias, 1802-1890. person
associatedWith Sutherland, James Frederick, 1892 or 3-1954, person
associatedWith Tex, Nicolaas Jacob den, 1836-1899. person
associatedWith United States. Office of Indian Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith Vaughan, John, 1756-1841 person
associatedWith Victor, Mathilde. person
associatedWith Ward, Henry Dana. person
associatedWith Wharton, Thomas I. (Thomas Isaac), 1791-1856. person
associatedWith Willard, Frances Elizabeth, 1839-1898. person
correspondedWith Young, John Russell, 1840-1899. person
associatedWith Zinn, Peter. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Gilbraltar Island (Ohio)
United States
Ohio
Dalles (Or.)
West (U.S.)
Gilbraltar Island (Ohio)
United States
Ohio--Gilbraltar Island
Dalles Military Road (Or.)
United States
Oregon
Subject
Railroads--Finance
Autograph albums
Real property
Public lands
Economic history
Mineral industries
Military roads--History--19th century
Temperance
Banks and banking
Railroads
Capitalists and financiers--Correspondence
Occupation
Public officials
Bankers
Financiers
Function

Person

Birth 1821-08-10

Death 1905-02-08

Information

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